Tea, Coffee or Chat? => Travelogue => Topic started by: tamlan on Dec 16, 11, 03:39 AM

Title: Vietnam
Post by: tamlan on Dec 16, 11, 03:39 AM
 Cuisine handed down from the King and Queen of Hue City is something every visitor should experience. The secret recipes are now available for guests to try!
The pomp and elegance of the royal banquet during festivals, which included dance, song, and fanfare, have been handed down to the new generation. Ancient flavors can be found on all corners of Hue. Some recipes have been created by famous chefs, others by skillful mothers and industrious young girls. Under the lines of tress leading from the heart of the city towards Thien Mu pagoda and Emperor Ming Mang’s tomb, alongside the Perfume River, we can find fresh food cocked in delicious Hue style.
The beef noodle soup in Hue is different from other areas, with its pungent flavor, and greasy and delicious broth. “Nem lui” or grilled meat rolls. Are grilled on charcoal, with never forget the taste once you have tried it.
Adding to the unique taste of Hue is the way food uniqueness of the way food is displayed, which speaks of the flavor and uniqueness of the cuisine. Even though it rains a lot in Hue, one can still enjoy exquisite outdoor meals on peaceful tree – shaded streets. In the north and south of Vietnam the food has been intermingled with other traditions, but in Hue the cuisine remains pure. “Banh Beo” is a kind of dumpling with a very thin slice of tapioca, steamed with shrimp pemmican, and sprinkled with fried cracklings. Each small bowl is just enough to whet one’s appetite. So people eat bowl after bowl until a high pile of dishes teeters before them on the table, and still the craving continues.
In hue green dumplings are wrapped in leaves and steamed. Cooked with minced pork and black mushroom, this dish creates an amazing taste and smell. Along Kim Long road beside the left bank of Perfume River, visitors can also try “mem lui|” and “bun thit nuong”, or grilled meat vermicelli.
No matter whether it is summer or winter, food connoisseurs are always looking for “mem bui;” the spicy minced meat grilled over charcoal is loved by all Hue natives. To thoroughly enjoy “nem lui” requires many kinds of fresh herbs and vegetables which are wrapped inside soft rive paper and then served a special sauce made of soya paste, four, minced pig liver, peanut oil and seasonings. The story of Hue’s traditional sauces is long and even simple snacks require specific ingredients. “Banh nam,” rice dumplings, are served with sweetened fish sauce, and fresh chili ads kick to the sweet and sour taste. To fully enjoy “banh bot loc”, tapioca cake, it needs to be complemented with salty shrimp paste and a generous amount of chili. If you are not originally from Hue, you might not be able to stand the spicy taste of the tiny green chili peppers grown on the mountain slopes surrounding the city. “Banh bot loc” is very hot, but once you get used to it, it will leave a strong impression in your mind forever. Another specialty is a cake that is folded and then divided into two parts. The first id vegetarian and the second contain. The first is vegetarian and the second contains meat. Naturally, each requires special sauces to go with it.
In memory of Hue residents of the past, the present population has tradition of the Salty Rice Patty. An elegant meal that takes a whole day to prepare, each dish is an exquisite work of art. Salt is fried with lemongrass; salt is mixed minced ginger, and salt is even is cooked with a little fat and eaten. Once you have tried these dishes, you can never forget the experience.
The story of the flavors of hue cannot be fully conveyed in a short space. Each season there is a special food to be tried. Hue sweet soup is a must – try for visitors, and includes red bean, green bean, horse – tooth bean, chickpeas, lotus seeds covered on loganberries, tapioca, and taro, to mane just a few ingredients. The small shops that sell sweet soup are an unforgettable memory for the many visitors who frequent the small lanes of Hue.
Generations of Hue residents have created special foods for every season, each of the which complements the unique and charm of Hue.
Title: What is the national hat in Vietnam ?
Post by: tamlan on Dec 16, 11, 03:41 AM
The village’s glory days are over, but many inhabitants of Chuong Have kept a traditional skill alive, producing the humble, durable, elegant and very, very conical hats.
In the past, the entire village in former Ha Tay province (since merged with the capital city) relied on the trade. It seemed that everyone, from the most senior citizens to the youngest, knew the ins and outs of making conical hats. Conical hat making ran in their blood, so to speak.
Even today, the village bustles with residents pursuing the traditional vacation, whether it is buying and selling raw materials, picking out palm splints, stitching the conical ring, or selling them in the market.
The conical hats from Chuong were so famous that they were even presented as gifts to the members of the royal family.
Chuong residents used to make the “non quai thao” (a kind of conical hat with fringes hanging on both sides) or the “non ba tam” (flat palm hat with fringes). However, the market now demands only the normal conical hat.
One feature with which the conical hat made here can be distinguished from others is that it has 16 layers in the conical ring, making it elegant, rounded and durable.
Holding the simple hat in our hands, it is hard to imagine that making it is highly time – consuming process. The first task is picking out young and tender leaves and bamboo splints. The leaves have to be cleaned with sand and dried under the sun to achieve the light touch. They are then smoothed out with a hot iron to prevent them from wrinkling. The bamboo splints that are used to make the conical ring must be hung in the kitchen earlier to make them “termite proof.”
The next process requires a high level of skill. It is called “lop la” or “quay non”, shaping the stems into the “mould” into which treated bamboo leaves are arranged by layers. If this is not done carefully, the layers will bulge, crumple or tear and that hat will not achieve the right balance.
The sewing process is even more difficult. The work cannot be done with a machine and must be accomplished by hand, using silk threads to sew small, tight stitches. Even the most – skilled person can only finish sewing two hats per day. The conical hats made in Chuong village are so well stitched that the threads are hardly visible.
Later, it will go through the final touch as it is lightly exposed to sulfur to make it brighter.
Golden days of yore
The golden days of Chuong village were during the subsidized period when lives were much harder. Every household, both in the rural and urban areas, had to have conical hats because they were economical and useful in all seasons. Even during those days, the residents of Chuong village could not become wealthy from this trade alone – a conical hat, no matter how much effort hoes into its making, cannot be sold at a high price.
As the country becomes more developed people have shifted their preference to other types of modern hats, and obviously, helmets on bikes. Demand for the conical hat has decreased dramatically, and many residents are no longer interested in maintaining the trade. Some have left the village to find jobs in the city.
However, there are those for whom the conical hat is still a symbol of hat work – the farmers sweating in the rice fields, the itinerant vendors, the women who struggle to make ends meet by selling food in the markets, and even corkers on constructions sites. For them, this simple object is a treasure.
That is why the tradition in Chuong village has a reason to continue. The market here has not lost its vibrant ambience despite the glory days being well behind.
Considered the biggest market if it’s kind in the northern region, the market in Chuong village gathers six times a month – on the fourth, 10th, 14th, 20th, 24th and 30th of the Lunar month. It is open only from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. as the sellers are in a hurry to transport their products to other regions. Thousands of conical hats are sold every market day at prices ranging from VND 20, 000 to 50, 000 each.
There are tourists who also come here to pick out a conical hat and experience the environment of the countryside, not to mention a famous traditional handcraft village. Every visitor is charmed by the residents’ friendliness and hospitality, and impressed by the skills of the local artisans making the conical hat.
In the hearts of many Vietnamese, especially those who have to live far away from home, nostalgia and homesickness. Along with the “ao dai”, the conical hat honors the unique beauty if the Vietnamese women, making them national icons.
Local authorities are looking at ways to further develop tourism in the village and find more markets for its main product. They have succeeded in getting orders from Japan, China, Australia and Korea, but are looking to expand this trade further. The conical hat markers deserve it not their diligence, commitment and perseverance.
If they succeed, the Chuong village could revisit its glory days again.
Title: Floating dreams in Halong Bay
Post by: tamlan on Dec 22, 11, 09:53 AM
Fancy a trip back on time on an imperial junk or a colonial steamboat? Visitors can now tour Ha Long Bay on boats that mix history with comfort.
A crowded deck, the overpowering smell of gasoline, heat noise – for me, boat cruise in Ha Long Bay had lost their charm. White the blue sea and soaring islands are the perfect setting for romance, I was tired of being jostled other visitors and taken to the same. Busy tourist sites.

Hind and cruise
With the growth of Vietnam’s tourism industry, the fragile junks that once traversed Ha Long Bay gave way to noisy motorboats catering to day-trippers from Hanoi. Then, three year ago, the bay’s residents were shocked by the appearance of luxury yachts.

Huong Hai, one of several companies the operate high-end yachts in the bay, invited me for a cruise on one its newly renovated boats, which was modeled after the 18th century craft used by Vietnam’s Nguyen Dynasty. The upper deck was designed to look like an ancient Chinese palace, complete which circular doors and pillars.
Staring u the craft’s three red sails I was reminded of the romantic short story “Red Sails” by the Russian writer Alexander Grin, in which a poor young woman dreams of a prince whisking her away in a boat with red sails.

With its three masts and creamy sails, the Dragon Pearl- a top –end yacht that set sail last summer – brings to mind the British East India Company vessels that once carried silk between London, Calcutta and Danang. Rather than Cung and Dau Go Caves or Ga Choi Islet, this luxury craft headed for Ba Trai Dao, a distant and little visited part of the bay named for three islets said to resemble peaches.

I went for a moonlit swim, spent hours exploring unnamed island by kayak, glided into mysterious sea caves, and spent many blissful hours lying in a deck chair sipping cocktails. This was more like it – the perfect blend of nature and comfort.

This level of luxury took some major investment; the Dragon Pearl cost about VND4bn (US$255,000) to build. Every detail is perfect, from the gleaming wood floors to the fluffy, embroidered duvet covers.

Ha long jewels

This summer saw launch of a new boat in Ha Long By, the 55 meter – long Emeraude, a luxurious craft modeled after the steamships that operated between Hai Phong and Quang Ninh from 1910 to WWII

The original Emeraude, owned by a French family by the name of Roque, was one of five stemmers operating in Ha long Bay: Emeraude Perle, Saphir, Onyx and Rubis, Originally from Bordeaux, Victor, Hanry, and Xavier Roque first came to Vietnam in 1858, when they were in their 20s. Over the years they ran timber, sugar and trading businesses with mixed success. In 1905, Xavier’ son Paul moved to Hai Phong to establish s cruise business. Built in Hong Kong, the steamboats were outfitted with the latest comforts available, including electric light to France in the 1940s.

Almost a century after the Roque Brothers’ boats started traversing Ha Long Bay a group of investors decided to revive the brothers’ vision. The firm’s slogan says is all: “Sail back in time”. A replica of the old steamboat, the new Emerraue offers all the comforts of a five-star hotel with 38 luxurious cabins, a salon, and the nightly buffet in the Emeraude’s dining room would satisfy an American millionaire.

When night fell, the sky sparkled with stars. It was lovely to lie in a rattan chair on the Dragon Pearl’s deck and sip a cocktail prepares by a young, uniformed barman. I shut my eyes and enjoyed the sea air on my face, only to fall asleep dreaming of stars.
Title: The new destination in Hoian, what you must visit
Post by: tamlan on Dec 22, 11, 09:54 AM
Hoi An is a city richly layered in cultural history. Outsides have the privilege of peeking in, thanks to the grace of local residents. One Hoi An family opens its doors to share a collection of family heirlooms and antiques with today’s communities.

Thousands of antiques, dating back hundreds and thousands of years, are on display at the Diep family house in Hoi An.
The owners of the generation of the house, Mr.Vinh Tan and Mr.Diep Gia Tung (Sung), keep their antiques showcased in an open house for tourists. Antiques, they believe, are only beautiful when shared with today’s communities.
A pale blue wooden house, with fading paint and constructed with Chinese architectural style and Japanese influences, sits at 80 Nguyen Thai Hoc, one of the three main streets in town. The house, built at the end of the 19th century, is inscribed with the name Diep Dong Nguyen.

According to the Diep Dong Nguyen records, Mr. Diep Ngo Xuan was his family’s generation to reside in Hoi An. In1856, he moved there in the flow of migrants the traveled from Gia Ung district in China.
Mr. Xuan established the family’s first Chinese traditional medicine shop on Tran Phu Street, which later was named Diep Dong Xuan Street. Mr. Xuan’s children have kept the business and built a pharmacy at 80 Nguyen Thai Hoc, the family continued on – now at the eight generation—collecting antiques along the way.
On the first floor, glass shelves display the antiques, which are a diverse collection of cups ad bowls from China and Vietnam. Some photos of the Diep family in the aristocratic dress of the early 20th century hang on the walls. After nearly a hundred years, the photos are still richly colored.

Narrow wooden stairs lead up to the second floor, where the family’s private collection of antiques us stored: photographs, porcelain, furniture, and ancient money. There are many kinds of currencies in Hoi An form feudal Japan and different dynasties in Vietnam and China.
The second floor also has small jars from the Khang Ky King period, Chu Dau pottery from the seventh century, antiques from the Ming, Thanh, and Duog dynasties, which were bought by the Diep family in China thousands of years ago.
The interior décor of the living room is also antique, with Empress Nam Phuong’s dressing table, the Khang Hy King’s cups, a medal that King Bao Dai awarded the family, and furniture that Ngo Dinh Diem once sat in.
A special item is a copper urn, which glows re in the rainy season and gold in the dry season, in the early 16th century, Chinese gold and money melted into alloy, which was used to cast many products, including this copper urn.

The Diep family has collected different kinds of seals from famous businessmen and local mandarins including the district chief, Cantonese chief, village mayors,. The family has collected female objects such as agate bracelets, brooches, and mirrors. Their collections also include Chinese calligraphy and water color paintings.
The Diep Family is pound of its collections, regarding these antiques as a connection to the past, to family memories. The transformation of his to home into a showroom is therefore worth the money that Mr.Sung spent, as he loves sharing the history of his family and of Hoi A with today’s generations and those to come.
Title: Ninh Binh, the legendary land and Legendary People
Post by: tamlan on Dec 22, 11, 09:55 AM
Nature has bestowed Vietnam’s northern province of Ninh Binh with dramatic landscapes. Sties like Tam Cac – Bich Dong and the stone cathedral of Phát Diem draw scores of visitors. Yet there are other, lesser-known sites that are worth visiting, all within an easy drive of the capital.

Less than an hour’s motorbike ride from Hanoi I entered a different world, the road passing through green hills and the virgin forests of Cuc Phuong National Park. As I drive through this mystical landscape, the words of the song (Suoi Mo” (Dream Stream), by the late composer van Cao, ran through my head Gazing at the clear Ngo Dong River running along the foot if the mountains, I could appreciate how this magnificent landscape would inspire great poetry and music.

In 986AD, the Dinh Dynasty (986-1010) chose to build it capital at Hoa Lu, in Ninh Binh. Meanwhile, the cave at Tam Coc – Bich ??ng attracts both local and international visitors to bathe its dreamy beauty.

Today, many tour companies take visitors to Bai Dinh Pagoda, which lies in the Trang An Tourist Complex. Reportedly the largest pagoda in Southeast Asia, Bai Dinh is impressive in tern of size, although, being newly built, it lacks a sense of history may be found nearby, at Hoa lu. It was here that Vietnam’s capital was founded in 986AD, after the nation regained its independence after 1000 years of Chinese occupation.

After unifying the nation, Dinh Bo Linh declared himself the first emperor of Vietnam. Under the name Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang, he found the kingdom of Dai Co Viet (Great Viet). Today, the site of the former capital is marked by some temples, pagodas and remnants of the stones. The surrounding rivers and hills remain unchanged.

When King Ly Cong Uan offered the construction of Thang Long Citadel in what is now Hanoi, stone and wood were transport down the Hoang Long and Day Rivers. These rivers still flow as they did 1000 years ago.

This forested area is Vietnam’s heartland. Taking a boats ride towards Tam Coc via the Xuyen Thuy Cave. In this beautiful landscape I felt close to nature, and appreciated the local who spend their whole lives working in the fields and streams.

Around twenty minutes out of Ninh Binh City, I boarded a boat to Tam Coc – Bich ??ng and nearly Van Long, where, during the rainy season, a large area is submerged under water. Millions of years ago, this area was ruled by the sea. Waves etched caves into the limestone mountain, the most famous of which is Tam Coc, which forms a tunnel through a mountain.

From the Van Long Resort I visited a lesser known beauty spot, Hang Bong Cave. The largest limestone and submerged land ecosystem in the red River Delta, the Van Long Kenh Ga compound attracts nature – lovers from all corners, as well as exciting boat rides through the marches, visitors have the chance to see rare and endangered animals, such as eagles, chamois, leopards, bears and monkeys. Though its fauna is not as rich as that found in Cuc Phuong National Park, the VanLong – Kenh Ga compound features magnificent rock formations surrounded by water. Small boats wind through the jagged peaks. As the sun sets, the scene is a dream for photographers.

This summer, a new international – standard hotel opened nearby. The Ana Mandara Ninh Binh features a beautiful and unique design, its main structures supported by giant wooden columns that are reminiscent of ancient Vietnamese palace palaces. Open on four sides, an impressive main hall serves as the lobby. The surrounding buildings are equally unique, being modeled after house in a 19th century Tonkin township. With wide verandas and curved roofs, these low house recall Hanoi many year ago, when the only sounds on mummer nights were the crises of cicadas.

Each group of house resembles a small village surrounding a swimming pool, a communal square and an herb garden. Bamboo hedges surround these “villages”. In between the blocks lie palm trees and fields of corn. After just a few hours I felt strangely attached to this place, as though it was actually my birth village.

The staffs at the Ana Mandara Ninh Binh were so friendly, and so professional, that I felt totally at home. This five-star hotel adds to the attractions of Ninh Binh. As I strolled beneath shady trees or sat and gazed at the clear water, I felt relaxed and grounded. Surrounded by the flowing wind and water of Ninh Binh, I felt connected to nature and to myself again.
Title: Why People names Hanoi as the Paris in Asia?
Post by: tamlan on Dec 22, 11, 09:56 AM
Born and raised on a small street lined with milk flower trees and French – Style house with balconies, I have known Hanoi’s French colonial district since I was too young to ride a bicycle. In the first grade, on my way to school, I always stopped in front of the iron gate of the house at the end of my street. Standing on tiptoes I’d put my face to the rusty gate and peer into the silent yard. I’d pluck a hibiscus flower and crush its petals across my fingernails. To this day, each time I look at my pale and rough hands I still think of that garden. The second storey of the house had a strange door. Hidden behind a patterned balcony, its curved design was different from any other that I’ve seen. Even now, the door is never opened, leaving me curious as to what lies beyond. To my mind, that house is a thousand times nicer than nay apartment in Kim Lien.

My maternal grandfather lived on Hai Ba Trung Street. For me, it was the most beautiful street of my childhood, especially on Sunday mornings when my mother carried me and other sundries on a Diamond bicycles to her father’s place. I love the feeling of seizing the buttons of her shirts and clinging to her back. Sitting on the luggage carrier hugging my mum of a bag of sweet potatoes, I could only see one side of the street. I often saw an old woman sweeping dead leaves in front of the long fence that surrounded a big house. The tips of the fence reminded me of foreign films about noble ladies in big shirts. I’d fashion similar skirts from blankets fixed with clothes pegs and mince around the house, proudly commanding my own noble word.

Mum let me play on the sidewalk while she cooked and my grandfather’s house. At the end of the road stood a fence hidden beneath a trellis of bougainvillea flowers. My feet always veered towards this green canopy. To this day, my feet still turn when I pass this stretch of road, I loved climbing the fence and sitting with my legs dangling, watching bicycles go past, kids holding their parents’ hands, and. If I raised my eyes, seeing the tall, tiled roof of the French- style house. In the late afternoon I’d watch lonely old women and the yellow light on the road. I’d clench the rusty bars and dream of meeting a prince who would live me in a house with such a fence. I’d picture us strolling in beautiful clothes, until awakened by my mum’s call to come in for lunch.

Grandfather used to take me to get ice cream on Trang Tien Street. He often toll mo to visit one of his friends in small house with an orchid tree and an unlocked iron gate. While they took off their felt hats and chatted, I preferred to sit in the bench in the yard, looking beyond the gate. Although I had just come on from the street, the world outside the gate appeared new and different.

Was it these things that later inspired me to learn French and to listen to French love songs? I don’t know. I only know that my present love for Hanoi’s streets stems from my childhood love for the streets of old. Each French colonial house behind a fence, each wrought iron me of my childhood, my white-haired grandfather, and my mum…
Title: What is Architectural treasure in The old quarter of Hanoi ?
Post by: tamlan on Dec 22, 11, 09:57 AM
Travelling back and forth along busy Dinh Liet Street, not many people catch a glimpse of the old garden house – the oldest of its type still standing in Ha Noi. Follow the small lane through a moss-covered arch, visitors enter an environment of peace and tranquillity, feasting their eyes on a large garden filled with plants big, small, tall and short. Many of them, such as bamboo, star-fruit trees or areca (betel nut), are more than 40 years old. In the middle of the garden there remains an old well.

The house and its 180sq m garden – a five-minute walk from Hoan Kiem Lake – is a national treasure. The Ha Noi People’s Committee has ordered its preservation and it will probably be preserved as a private museum. In the 1940s, Pham Thi Te, now 98, and her husband – the then owner of the famous Su Tu (lion) Silver brand – bought land fronting both Hang Bac and Dinh Liet streets. They had four daughters and four sons.
There, they built a two-storey, 16-room house of mixed French-Vietnamese design and gave their married children and their spouses two rooms each.
Previously, the main gate to the house was at 115 Hang Bac Street, and the back gate was on 6 Dinh Liet Street. With time gone by, the 600m living area has been reduced to about 200m and the back gate has become the main entrance.

From afar, one may think the house is a temple. Each corner of the tiled roof is embellished with knives stylised in the image of a dragon hovering in the clouds.
“For the past 70 years, we have clearly understood the value of the land, but we are determined not to sell so Ha Noi can boast of preserving an old garden house with a mixture of both traditional and Western architecture – a destination for tourists,” said Te.

Time has passed, but everything in the house remains intact, from the carved wooden doors and the furniture. Throughout the house, there is a rare combination of cultures and architecture: wooden pillars, designs on walls or doors imprinted with images of flowers, animals or letters like Tho (longevity) which imply happiness and longevity for the whole family.

The architecture has drawn many visitors, both local and foreign, to the house, including those from the Canadian embassy here in Ha Noi or a group of heritage officials from France, Te’s eldest son, Pham Ngoc Giao said. The house is also listed in Japan’s guide book The 36 Guild Streets in Ha Noi’s Ancient Quarter.
Architect Dao Ngoc Nghiem, former head of the municipal planning and architecture department, said the house presented a unique architectural achievement. “Tube houses are typical in the city’s ancient streets. This garden house was not influenced by that style, thus, it has a rarely seen value,” Nghiem said.

Giao said it was not that his parents were rich enough to buy and build such a large garden, but that they wanted to have an environment filled with green trees and fresh air to subsidise for the loss of rural life after they moved to Ha Noi from Hai Duong Province.
Sitting by the table set, which dated back to Giao’s grandfather, he said it was of the same age as a set of tables and chairs in the guest room at the Opera House.

Giao said besides its architectural value, the house carried much-respected spiritual value. “It’s regarded as part of the country’s cultural heritage. But it should be filled with a soul. We are determined to keep the house to honour our mum’s wish,” he said, emphasising that they are living to protect not only the house, but more importantly the family ties and values – the soul of the house.”

Respect for the elders and others has been a living principle for Te’s descendants and respect for others means the entire family values gender equality. “The house accommodates five generations, counting my grandparents. As people born and raised in the Old Quarter, we have always enjoyed a warm family.”

That’s why visitors to the house always see a living, not a dead museum, Giao said. Recently, a group of Thai teenagers in a tour to Ha Noi came and asked for permission to perform their typical dances in the living room. Te’s great grandchildren joined in with some Vietnamese songs and dances. Witnessing this, Giao said happily that the house was once again a place for cultural exchange.
Title: Communal House, the heart and soul of Vietnam Country
Post by: tamlan on Dec 22, 11, 09:57 AM
Dinh is a village community hall in Vietnam, a symbol of village community and a visible element of village culture. Nowadays, Dinh does not have the administrative function it had before, but it is still regarded as a sacred place which must be preserved. Besides its religious meaning, Dinh is a typical image of Vietnam and Vietnamese people. Many foreign tourists are attracted by the unique architectural beauty of ancient Dinh. To help tourists know more about Dinh, Vietnam Heritage Travel Company discuss in detail aspects of Dinh’s architectural as well as culture beauty.

Historical background
When did Dinh first appear in Vietnam? This is still an unanswered question. The oldest datable Dinh all belong to the Mac dynasty in the 16th century. Although the evidence is still lacking, we believe that Dinh as a village community hall first appeared in antiquity, if not in prehistoric times then in the early historical era. At that time it was not yet called Dinh, a word borrowed from China.

Dinh architecture has change over time and from place. Dinh built in the 16thth century.  At that time Dinh began to appear architecturally more diverse than Dinh in the North and in the centre of Vietnam.century was originally a simple “nhat”, in that it consisted of just one main hall. There were changes in Dinh architecture in the 17

Village Dinh, particularly Dinh in the north, are fabulously rich treasure trove of Vietnamese sculpture down through history. Sculpture has been preserved in other religions, but nowhere is as full a range exhibited as in the Dinh. Much of the roofing material had to have jutting beams of rough grains wood. Sculpture transformed these into heads of dragons holding pearls in their mouths. The heads are adorned with long flaming manes and are lively and interesting. The tops of pillars have many rows of wooden bolts or dowels carved in the feathered wing mode. They are decorated so as to represent groups of converging dragons and are truly lovely.

Dinh of the 16th century feature a lot of decorative sculpture. Figures of dragons are everywhere, especially in the most holy places. On the top raters are coiled dragons with heads adorned with large eyes and square on the top of pillars as if chasing each other about, or waiting to greet one another. Fairies carved into round status one or nymphs are found on the dragons. These fairy maiden are playing horizontal and vertical flutes and string musical instrument. There are also many other figures such as people cutting firewood, sloughing with elephants, chasing tigers, catching snakes, performing acrobatics, rowing boats and drinking wine.

The 17th century witnessed the zenith of Dinh sculpture development. The development from decorative carving to bas-relief sculpture in the Dinh coincided with the introduction if skilled carving into a number of free or semi-stressed elements of the rafters. The techniques of intaglio and alto-relievo created many overlapping layers and split away the background to make excellent sculpted carvings. In many Dinh, an entire log was fixed in place as edging where two rafters connected and an entire scene with thousands of figures was carved on it. In summary, village Dinh bas-reliefs of the 17th century achieved very great artistic standards. Elements of human culture have penetrated deeply into every aspect of each carving, to the point that it is possible to cut away a small component and still see in it the full spirit of the entire composition.

In the 18th century, the technique of peel-carving many intricate layers and the complexity of sculptures diminished. At the same time the quality of decoration improved. It’s clear that the decorative sculpture of village Dinh from the 16th – 18th centuries bore the stamp of popular art. The anonymous sculptors came from the peasantry and carried into the Dinh scenes close to daily life or true to their own imaginative life. And they did this with an utterly original style.

Since the 19th century, Dinh sculpture has almost no scenes of popular life. From then on there are only decorative figures of flowers and leaves, and figures of the four venerated animals are popular, namely the tortoise, dragon phoenix, and unicorn. In the 19th century Dinh, the arched doors of the worship hall were usually carved rather elaborately.
Title: Pa Then Ethnic minority, what you need to know
Post by: tamlan on Dec 22, 11, 09:58 AM
Pa Then, an ethnic minority people concentrated in northern Vietnam’s Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang provinces, are known for their skill at producing cloth an clothing, there are about 5 ,000 Pa Then people in Vietnam today, all of whom live in mountainous areas. Like many minority groups in Vietnam, the Pa Then is traditionally nomadic. Their lives revolve around nature and the seasons, as they survive by farming, Cotton is their crop.

Known for their skillful hand-weaving, sewing and embroidery, the Pa Then place a great deal of importance on their clothes, as revealed by a Pa Then legend. According to this tale, a Pa Then woman once married a dog and bore his child. Sadly, the baby died, and the woman was so bereft that she took to carrying a puppy wherever she went. When the puppy grew larger it tore the woman’s skirt, leaving a paw-shaped tear. Upon mending this rip, the woman realized that the mended area looked pretty and would serve as a reminder of her lost baby. From then on she began to sew motifs resembling dogs’ paws onto her clothes. Known as ta-leo, this pattern is typically embroidered onto the skirt hems of Pa Then women.

The Pa Thens’ traditional clothing is bright red. To make the red dye they chop the trunks of pa-xi-mung trees into pieces and boil them until the water turns red. Raw cloth is soaked into this water, and then dried in the sun. This process is repeated until the desired shade of red is achieved. Today, chemicals are sometimes added to the solutions to makes the red darker and colorfast.

Unlike many other ethnic groups, the Pa Then wears their everyday clothing at festivals. For this reason, rich and poor are indistinguishable. Even on her wedding day, a Pa Then girl will wear the clothes that she stitched for daily wear. The top is called the Ke-o-po and the skirt the Ket-tanh. Wedding guest might it hard to identify the bride and bridesmaids.

Pa Then women wear a distinctive turban, which contains two parts: an inner, indigo-dyed towel cloth, known as the Ke-so, measures about 0.3 meters by 5 meters and is folded widthwise five or six times and wound around the head. The outer scarf, known as su-chi, is about 1.5 meters long.

Pa Then girls are taught to weave and embroider from an early age. A little girl’s outfit resembles that of an adult but with simpler embroidery patterns. As a girl grows she is encouraged to express her creativity by embroidering new designs on her skirt, as well as learning traditional patterns. For this reason, the clothing of Pa Then women follows similar designs bit with individual flourishes.

The ket-tanh skirt is fashioned from pleated red cotton and features sophisticated embroidery patterns. Motifs include squares, lozenges, triangles, stars, combs, bridges, rooster legs, crabs, silkworms, calves, and dog’s paws.

The belt or to-he-to measures 1.5 to 2 meters in length and is black or white. Black ones are used every day and white ones during the lunar New Year or at festivals. Jewelry completes a Pa Then woman’s outfit and reveals her wealth. Woman’s from wealthy families may pile on a half dozen silver bracelets and necklaces, and sport some eye-catching gold teeth.

The Pa Thens’ clothes are very different from those worn by other Mong – Dao people. The Pa Then cut their clothing from large pieces of cloth and embroiders it with motifs set in horizontal rows. White, blue, yellow and black designs stand out against a bright red background, making these clothes instantly recognizable as belong to the Pa Then. Among the many a making outfits created by Vietnam’s 54 minority groups, those of the Pa Then are among the most striking.
Title: Why The Dong Van Plateau become the most popular destination for Adventure Trave
Post by: tamlan on Dec 22, 11, 09:59 AM
Dong Van is a rocky plateau in northern Ha Giang province with range of Limestone Mountains and hills creating a stone landscape.146km from Ha Giang town is Dong Van which spans a total natural area of 44.6 square kilometers with 9 communes is on the Chinese border. This region has a total population of more 57, 000 with 17 ethnic groups including the Mong, Tay , Nung, Han, Ray, Lo Lo and so forth. In the winter, the temperature drops to 1­0c but in the summer when it is at its hottest, temperatures reach about 240c. It rains all the year round and misses in the blink of an eye. Dong Van occupies a complicated geological position and the environment is the result on the weather, the high mountain pass and abyss. This destination provides a spectacular landscape with high peaks and is the perfect destination for those who like to travel to an unknown region.

The Van Chai Primeval forest zone has ancient trees, creepers that have wrapped round the landscape for thousands of years. Forest roads lead up to mountain peaks and from there one can look down on the valley and green forests below. Crossing the Chi Khoanh pat one comes to Pho Bang town located in the middle of an immense rocky region, where there is the Ta Pha border gate and Nguyet cave. Xa Phin commune is the site of the Nha Vuong vestige area. And on the Dragon peak the Lung Cu, dragon Column is a sign of Vietnam’s sovereignty. Dong Van – Meo Vac plateau is home to rocks and nature. At sunset, the forest of rocks and the plateau loom up in strange and interesting shapes created by the talented artists of the rain, sun and time. Nho Que River meanders and follows the cliff and deep valley rising out the cloud and mist which gives an illusory feel to the landscape.

Dong Van town is very steep with an average height of 1000 – 1600m above sea level. People live by the tilling the mountain fields and trading.

The whole life of this region is associated with rock, and a basic existence. Surrounded by abrupt rocky cliffs, the ancient Dong Van old street is deep and arcs for many kilometers. Along this street are about 40 houses they are about 100 years old as well as some 200 year old houses existing from about 1810 to 1820. Looking from up high the two sides of the market form U shape as the two old streets lead to the foot of the mountain. This is Quyet Tien village with many houses built by workers from Sichuan and this is regarded as part of an old street with specific old Vietnamese/Chinese architecture. Typical architecture here is included 2 storey houses with wall made of soil and roofs covered by double tiles. Dong Van market area has many old tube houses.

Dong Van celebrates the Night festival on the 14th, 15th and 16th days in the lunar month. Red and multi – colored decorations hang on the front door of each house. Warm fire for cooking are in the corners of markets. Cooking a pot of “thang co” and H’ Mong young man takes along ladle to stir the bones, beef and cow entrails in a pan. Cake is baked form rice flour. Hot screamed glutinous rice is placed on a low table. The Mong,Tay, Nung , Kinh people intermingle to as they trade and it’s hard to distinguish between the groups.

Differing from other tourists destinations, tourists are attracted to Dong Van Old Street by its original and simple features. Beauty is based on the natural landscape; newness is based on traditional habits and customs.

Coming to Dong Van means visiting an old street, old cultural activities and old materials. It is an imposing grandiose landscape that captures the immigration.
Title: When is the best time to visit Bac Ha Market
Post by: tamlan on Dec 30, 11, 02:58 AM
The road form Lao Cai province to Bac Ha on both sides of the road. White glass grows on both sides of the road. White, grey and light yellow grass, all stand taller than a man and stir restlessly in the light breeze. Golden sunlight lights up the grass and the verges glow with bright colour. The entrances to Ban Cam, Ban Phiet and Phong Hai town – one after the other the turn-offs flit past. A dawn glow illuminates the road. I don’t know exactly where Bac Ha is, and am still under the impression that the town lies somewhere around the next bens in the road. But this is wrong. We have to turn left at the Bac Ngam T-junction, and then continue driving on a winding and narrow road for another 30km before we reach the town…

Under a bright sun and cloudless sky, we view a range of green mountains. Wild violet flowers varlet the ground at our feet. My stomach is no longer affected by altitude/ car sickness. Instead my anxiety about my old car affects us all. Will the car get as far as the next milestone? Or will we have to stop halfway up the mountain, or skid into the rocky dry steam below? Finally we are able to relax. Built on a slope, Bac Ha leans against the Kieu Lieu Ti mountain range. Like a beautiful maiden smiling at visitors, the town, warm welcome to all who arrive at its gates. At the centre of Bac Ha town, my mobile phone works brieoy but then contacts of lost again, swallowed up like a small cloud by a big mountain.

During the Tran Dynasty, Bac Ha belonged to Thien Hung town, but during the Nguyen dynasty it was a part of Quy Hoa district. Then it became a district of Hoang Lien Son province (the old province). Nowadays, Bac Ha district belongs to the northern province of Lao Cai. Bac Ha town is situated in a valley on a limestone upland 1800 meters above sea level. Bac Ha is pronounced “Pac Ha” by local people and Pakha by the French colonist in former times. Pac Ha means “100 bunches of straw grass: Today, this kind of grass is hardly found but “Tam Hoa” plum trees grow everywhere in Bac Ha. The plum flowering season has not yet arrived. The grey – white trunks stand sadly in the light breeze and littered sunlight. From a distance, plum orchards poke through smoke wreathing the hillside. Coming closer, hundreds of bare branches knit together to create zigzag shadows, flitting about like tattoos on the faces of people standing below.

If assessed objectively, Bac Ha is not an attractive tourist site. In daily itineraries of travel agents it is only a promoted destination in the “Hanoi – Sapa” tour package. If you visit Bac Ha on a northern day, when Mong and Dao people are not wearing colorful costumes to market, you might feel bored because Bac Ha has nothing worth visiting. (We do not include here the famous Can Cau market, which is crowded with colorful costumers of the Mong Hoa people. This belongs to Simacai district but tourists still think it as a part of Bac Ha.)

Besides some old wooden house, providing the features of an old mountainous settlement, most of the house of a here have been rebuilt in brick and along the lines of the typical delta architecture. There is only one rather big two star hotel, the rest are small guest houses, cafes and low – price restaurants, with cheap plastic chairs and Chinese pictures. You won’t find a single proper place of entertainment here. Virtually the only building worth mentioning for its architecture is a semi-ruin: The palace of Hoang A Tuong – Meo King.

The owner of this palace is Tay person, not a Meo person as the local people call him. His name, in recorded documents, is Hoang Yen Chao. His son is Hoang A Tuong, on inheriting the position of Pac Ha’s landlord documents, made his fortune from a monopoly on forest exploitation exploitation and the sale of salt, opium and food. In 1914, before the Hoangs built the palace, a geomancer was invited to choose a good position for the palace. The building on a large piece of ground and was designed and erected by the French and Chinese architects. It has a harmony and grace about it but also a certain domes, like those in a Middle Ages Monastery. Graceful maidens in colored clothes appear and disappear. The scene calls to mind the images of highborn girl in a feudal society.

After visiting Hoang A Tuong Palace, we paid a sunset visit to Pho village. The bumpy road with its with its simple thatched cottages, the deep clop all buffalo plodding home, the innocent children, all these things give to visitors a sense of sadness. The sunset reddening the smiles on the faces of maidens and even the charm of the terraced fields could not lighten the atmosphere. Perhaps Bac Ha of Still in its deep sleep, waiting for the white and brilliant plum flowers to bloom.
Title: Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, not to miss for Vietnamese Lunar New Year activitie
Post by: tamlan on Dec 30, 11, 03:00 AM
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is both a research centre and a public museum exhibiting the ethnic groups of Vietnam. The mission of the Museum is scientific research, collection, documentation, conservation, exhibition and preserving the cultural and historic patrimony of the nation’s different ethnic groups. The museum also serves to guide research, conservation, and technology that are specific to the work of an ethnographic museum.

In its planning for the future, the Museum intends to present the cultures and civilisations of other countries of South-East Asia as well as in the region.
Vietnam is a multi-ethnic country, which is composed of 54 ethnic groups. Perceiving the importance of having an ethnographic museum to preserve and present the cultural heritages of ethnic groups, the Government decided to establish a museum of ethnology in Hanoi. The Proposal for the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology was officially approved on December 14, 1987. Land was allocated for construction: in 1987, 2,500m2 and in 1988, 9,500m2. Then, in 1990, the Prime Minister decided to allocate the entire 3,27 acres of land to the Museum.

During construction (1987 to 1995), the Project Managing Board and the Museum Department were a part of the Institute of Ethnology. On October 24, 1995, the Prime Minister made the decision on establishment of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, under National Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities. On November 12, 1997, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology inaugurated its permanent exhibition and officially opened to the public.

The Museum is located in a large open area on Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Cau Giay District, about 8 km from the city centre. This area used to be paddy field of the local people. During the construction of the Museum, the entire infrastructure was built, including the 700m road from Hoang Quoc Viet Street to the entrance of the Museum. (In the near future, this road will reach the Daewoo Hotel, which is situated between Cau Giay and Lieu Giai Streets)

The Vietnamese Government first invested in the Museum in 1986 and construction of the foundation began in late 1989. According to the proposal, the total budget for construction was 27 billion of Vietnamese dong (US$ 1.9 million), not including 4 billion dong (US$ 285,000) for collecting and exhibiting the artifacts.
The exhibition building of the Museum was designed by the architect Ha Duc Linh, a Tay minority, who works for the Living Houses and Public Works Building Company, Ministry of Construction. The interior architecture was done by Mrs. Veronique Dollfus, a French architect.

The Museum is divided into two parts: an indoor and an outdoor exhibition. The indoor part is composed of the exhibition building, office, research centre, library, storage, technical lab and auditorium. These offices cover 2,480m2, including 750 m2 for storage of artifacts. The outdoor exhibition, which will be accomplished in the first years of the 21st century, is to highlight different types of houses in all parts of Vietnam. Pathways link the indoor and outdoor exhibitions with each other.

Since its inauguration on the occasion of the 7th Summit of Franco phony in Hanoi, give date the Museum receives about 60,000 visitors annually.

 What is new at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology?
The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is a valuable centre for the exhibition and the preservation of cultural heritages of the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam. To date, the Museum has collected 15,000 artifacts, 2,190 slides, 42,000 photographs, 237 audiotapes, 373 videotapes and 25 CD-ROMs. It is also a centre for ethnographic research employing many experts on the different ethnic groups. People come to the Museum just not to visit or entertain, but also to learn about these ethnic groups, their cultural diversity and the uniqueness of each group and region, as well as traditional values throughout the Vietnamese country. For this reason, national and international visitors, children and students, professionals and non-professionals are attracted to the Museum.
The artifacts of the Museum are not only priceless antiquities, but many are everyday objects, such as knives, baskets, garments, flutes, pipes and mats. These objects reflect tangible and intangible cultural heritages of the communities, representing lives and creative activities of the people. Thus, artifacts of the Museum are so varied that they are organized into different collections. The Museum has 54 collections of each individual ethnic group. Functionally classified, there are collections of clothing, jewellery, of agricultural tools, fishing instruments, weapons, household utensils and musical instruments. In addition, there are collections of artifacts related to the various religions, beliefs, wedding ceremonies, funeral ceremonies and other social and spiritual activities. Based on the specific collections, the Museum organizes exhibitions and publishes books and catalogues in different formats in order to meet the needs of various audiences of different backgrounds.

The two-floor building, which is inspired by the Vietnamese famous and ancient bronze drum, holds the permanent collection. A granite bridge leads from the main gate to the entrance of the exhibition, creating a feeling of going up to a house-on-stilts which is very popular in many areas of Vietnam. On entering the Museum, the granite floor is decorated with dark tiles arranged in the shape of an S. This decoration symbolises the shape of the Vietnamese coastline, the earth is in dark color and the ocean is light grey.

The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology has been designed to reflect the country's technical and scientific progress as well as the Museum’s objectives. First of all, the Museum was created for everybody. This is reflected in both the architecture and the display techniques. The Museum has ramps for physically challenged people and an electric elevator allowing access to the second floor. All steps have handrails that are very comfortable for older people. Learning from the experiences of many museums in the world, the museum texts are not in capital letters but small letters so that it is easy for people of different ages to read them. Panels are presented at reasonable heights, for both adults and children. In addition to objects, there are photographs, texts, videos and many reference materials, all of which can be brought into full play to inform visitors with different levels of education and different needs.

The objects are displayed as centerpieces because they reflect the everyday lives of the people. The Museum’s consistent point of view is that the display should be simple, so that visitors can admire the beauty and finesse of each ordinary and simple item. Although there are no illustrative paintings in the Museum, photographs and videos are used to illustrate people’s lives.

A restricted number of 700 objects and 280 photographs are displayed in the Museum’s permanent exhibits, which helps visitors avoid being distracted by an over-representation of artifacts.
The different collections are displayed according to language groups and territories. Most of the objects presented in the 97 showcases are original. The showcases have either one-sided windows or four-sided windows, depending on the artifacts presented. For example, some cases present many artifacts; others have only one significant object. Among the showcases in the display, 50 cases are accompanied by texts. Each object has a label denoting its name, the ethnic group and the place where it was created. There are also mannequins, maps, graphs, hardcover books, photographs, videotapes, cassette tapes, models, and 33 section panels. Though the Museum is not large, dioramas highlight certain customs or cultural features of ethnic groups.
Adding to the many layers of information available to visitors, the museum provides hundreds of panels composed of explanations, illustrative photographs and maps. Unfortunately, because of limited space, the texts are condensed. Not only do the texts and the object labels serve a national audience, they are also translated into English and French in order to facilitate international visitors. Thus, visitors experiencing the museum, even without a tour guide, are able to understand the main messages of the displays.

New technical solutions have been used throughout the Museum, such as focused lights. The light radiates inside and outside the glass windows focusing on the most significant aspect of each object in order to set off its beauty and draw visitors’ attention. In addition, a ventilation system has been installed within each display area to protect the objects from mould and decay.

The outdoor exhibition area is only large enough for the most popular architectural styles to be represented. Already presented are the Ede long house, the Tay stilt house, the Yao house half on stilts, half on earth, the Hmong house whose roof is made of pomu wood, the Viet house with tile roof and the Giarai tomb. There are future plans to present the Bahnar communal house, the Cham traditional house and the Hanhi house made with beaten walls. Between the houses, there are trees indigenous to the area of each house, zigzagging paths and a meandering stream crossed by small bridges. The outdoor museum is being realised step by step.
Title: Ha Long Bay ranks 2nd in top 10 best boat journeys in the world
Post by: tamlan on Dec 30, 11, 03:01 AM
Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site has been ranked the 2nd among the 10 best boat journeys by the UK’s Lonely Planet Travel Magazine.
“Bobbing on the emerald waters of Halong Bay and moving through its 3000-odd limestone islands is simply sublime.
The tiny islands are dotted with beaches and grottoes created by wind and waves, and have sparsely forested slopes ringing with bird tunes.
There are more than 300 boats based at Bai Chay Tourist Wharf waiting to sweep you away to the World Heritage waters.
Day tours last from four to eight hours, though (recommended) overnighters are also available” the magazine written.

Norwegian Fjords gets the first place. Next positions are Amazon River, South America; Franklin River, Australia; Quetico Provincial Park, Canada; Kerala’s backwaters, India; Milford Sound, New Zealand; Island-hopping, Greece; Disko Bay, Greenland; and Galapágos Islands, Ecuador.
Ha Long Bay is a popular travel destination in the Northern Province of Quang Ninh. Covering on an area of around 1,553 km2, the hot tourist spot has including 1,969 islets, most of which are limestone.
In 1994, Ha Long Bay was recognized as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. It has jumped to second place among the 28 finalists of an online voting for the world’s new seven wonders and helping to bring 5.3 million visitors to Quang Ninh in the first eight months of the year.

Halong Bay is so much more compelling when it’s not a passive experience,” said Kurt Walter, group general manager of Apple Tree Group Hospitality. “Yes, it’s one of the most magnificent seascapes you’ve ever seen, but when you get out into it, with a paddle in your hands, or your hands on the grit of these limestone karsts, then you’ve just gained a whole new dimension of experience.”
The new soft adventure program is managed by Slo Pony Adventures, a Vietnam-based travel company run by Onslo Carrington and Erik Ferjentsik, two American-trained outdoor enthusiasts. Participants can book the soft adventure of their choice independently, or as part of a group effort.
For rock climbers, Slo Pony is cultivating 20 different venues around the bay, including the Polish Pillar, a karts that exemplifies the bay’s fantastic limestone formations.
Most climbing for beginners and intermediates takes place at Moody’s Beach, where a two-faced crag is laced with easy-to-moderate routes.

“No matter how intimidating the prospect of rock climbing may seem for some, especially among formations as otherworldly as Halong Bay’s, the experience we’re promoting is accessible to anyone,” said Onslo Carrington. “If you can walk up a flight of stairs, you can climb!”
On Cat Ba Island, Slo Pony leads trekkers through Butterfly Valley in the National Park. Here the experience is less predictable but serendipitous with waterfalls, exotic wildlife, rainbows and spectacular views. On the bay itself, Slo Pony’s kayak guides steer Emeraude passengers to deserted beaches and in and out of myriad lagoons.
“As a destination, Halong Bay is one of the most amazing backdrops to an adventure, and always has been,” said Walter. “But we’ve always thought it’s more than a backdrop. What we want to do is put these karsts in the foreground of everyone’s memory of Halong Bay.”
Title: Top 7 Restaurants in Vietnam for Authentic Cuisines
Post by: tamlan on Dec 30, 11, 03:02 AM
Wild Lotus in Hanoi
Add: 55A Nguyen Du str
Tel: 04 3943 9342
Seriously up - market restaurant in a converted colonial mansion with a stately dining room full of imposing artwork. The menu includes three spice journeys set menus that guide you through the highlights of the Vietnamese table. And there’s more

Jumbo Viet Nam Floating Restaurant in Halong
Add: 119 Le Thanh Tong St., Hon Gai, H? Long City
Tel: 033 624 888
The Jumbo restaurant, located near the Hon Gai Tourist Wharf, opened in October 2002. It is of wooden construction on three floors and can seat 300 customers. Here tourists can enjoy Chinese dishes and traditional Vietnamese food, and can choose live seafood.

Tropical Garden Restaurant in Hue
Add: 27 Chu Van An Str
Tel: 54 384 7143
It a little naff still good fun, serving central Vietnamese cuisine along with traditional Hue music (7 pm to 9pm nightly). It’s popular with tour groups, so service can be a sporty if you’re on your own.

Mango Rooms Restaurant in Hoian
Add: 111 Nguyen Thai Hoc Str
Tel: 510 391 0839
Don’t look for Cao Lau here. This restaurant specializes in putting a modern spin on Vietnamese cuisine, and chef an owner Duc Tran has concocted fresh, unexpected flavors in every dish. Event Mick Jeffery’s come and the chilled – out river – side space are decorated with playful splashes of primary colors.

Lanterns Restaurant in Nhatrang
Add: 72 Nguyen Thien Thuan Str
Tel: 58 352 1674
The flavors are predominantly Vietnamese, such as braised pork in crypto or fried tofu with lemongrass, but there are some international offerings for anyone who is ricked out. The restaurant supports a local orphanage and invites the children and their corers in to dine each month.

Quan An Ngon Restaurant in Hochiminh City
Add: 138 Nam Ki Khoi Nghia Str
Tel: 08 3825 7179
Always heaving with local and foreigners alike, this is one of the most popular places in town for the of street food in stylish surrounding. Set in a leafy garden ringed by food stalls, each cook serves up a specialized traditional dish, ensuring an authentic taste. Follow your nose and browse the stalls.
Title: Top 3 Vietnam festivals in January and February
Post by: tamlan on Dec 30, 11, 03:04 AM
Vietnamese Tet (Tet Nguyen Dan)
Time: The 30th day of the twelfth lunar month of the previous year to the 3rd day of the first lunar month of the New Year.
Location: Nation-wide.
Objects of worship: grandparents and ancestors.
Participator: The biggest national festival that attracts to people through the country.

- Nice clothes, or traditional costumes.
- Ritual of ancestral worshipping and a rite to see Tao Quan (Kitchen God) off.
- Best wishes for a prosperous New Year and family gathering.
Tet is the biggest and the most sacred festival. It is the most attractive to a majority of the Vietnamese.
Tet falls on a time when the old year is over and the New Year comes by lunar calendar. This is also the time when the cycle of the universe finishes: winter ends and spring, the season of birth of all living things, comes.
Tet is an occasion for pilgrims and family reunions. It is a time when one pays respect to his/her ancestors and grandparents who have brought up him/her. It is an occasion when everyone sends each other best wishes for a new year, stops thinking about unhappy things and says good things about each other.

On the 23rd day of the twelfth month by lunar calendar, there is a rite to see Tao Quan (Kitchen God) off. The rite to say goodbye to the old year is held on the 30th or 29th day (if that month has only 29 days) of the twelfth month by lunar calendar. The rite to welcome the New Year is held at midnight that day. The rite to see off ancestral souls to return to the other world is often held on the 3rd day of the first month by lunar calendar when the Tet holidays finish and everybody goes back to work.

There are various customs practiced during Tet such as ancestral worshipping, visiting a person’s house on the first day of the new year, wishing Tet wishes, giving lucky money to young children and old people, wishing longevity to the oldest people, opening rice paddies or opening a shop.

Huong Pagoda Festival
Time: From the 6th day of the first lunar month to the 15th day of the third lunar month, main festival days last from the 15th day to the 20th day of the second lunar month.
Location: Huong Son Commune, My Duc District, Ha Tay Province.
Objects of worship: Sakyamuni Buddha, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, Holy Mothers.
Activities: One of the longest festivals with the most spacious area.
Approximately 70 kilometers southwest of Ha Noi, Huong Son boasts quite a few pagodas built in the Posterior Le Dynasty. Until the beginning of the 20th century, there have over 100 pagodas. Visitors can go to Huong Son via the Ha Dong - Van Dinh route.

Vietnamese or foreigners alike wish to come to Huong Son in springtime. Heading there tourists come to a magnificent land, a famous beauty spot in Vietnam.
Going boating in Yen Stream, visitors get a stunning view of the landscape in springtime. Here lies Ngu Nhac Mountain, there stand Hoi Bridge, Dun and Voi Phuc (Prostrating Elephant) mountains. Then come Thuyen Rong (Dragon Boat) and Con Phuong (Phoenix) mountains, not to mention various other mountains named after their shape like Ong Su (Buddhist Monk), Ba Vai (Buddhist nun), Mam Xoi (Tray of Sticky Rice), Trong (Drum), or Chieng (Gong).

At Trinh Temple visitors stop to burn incense and present to the Mountain Deity before going on their journey to Ba Cave. In front of the cave spreads a land with magnificent beauty. Leaving Ba Cave, tourists go to Tro Wharf, the starting point for the trekking up the mountain. Thien Tru Pagoda is the first destination. Known as the Kitchen of Heaven, it boasts Thien Thuy - a tower-like natural rock, and Vien Cong Tower an exquisite terracotta architectural structure dated back to the 17th century. On the right of the pagoda stands Tien Son Grotto, housing five statues carved out of stone and many stalactites and stalagmites which can be used as musical instruments.

To reach Huong Tich Grotto one go past a winding path paved with slabs of stone nature has smoothed. Alongside the path visitors has a chance to feast their eyes on stunning landscapes. In the 18th century, upon coming here Lord Trinh Sam had the words “The most beautiful grotto under the Southern sky” chiselled above the mouth of the grotto. Pushing into its belly, visitors get a spectacular view. Many stalactites and stalagmites are named after their shape: Rice Pile, Money Pile, Gold Tree, Silver Tree to name but a few. Inside there are statues of King’s Father, Queen, Avalokitesvara, and so on. Noteworthy is the Cuu Long structure with nine dragons flanking from above.

There are many interesting pagodas, caves and grottoes in Huong Son. Among them include Long Van, Tuyet Son, Hinh Bong, and so forth. The Ong Bay (Sung Sam) Cave, 2km from Long Van Pagoda, still retains traces of ancient people some tens of thousands of years ago.
Unlike any other Locations, Huong Pagoda harmonizes the characters of a Buddhist architectural complex with the impressive natural beauty. Coming here, tourists have chances to live in a boisterous atmosphere of a spring festival amidst beautiful landscape. They seem to be free from all tiredness and sorrow and come to pay respect to the compassionate Buddha.

Co Loa Festival
Time: From the 6th to the 16th day of the first lunar month, the main festival day is on the 6th day of the first lunar month.
Location: Co Loa Commune, Dong Anh District, Hanoi.
Objects of worship: King An Duong Vuong.
Activities: The procession of 12 hamlets and 7 villages, the procession of “alive” king in Nhoi Village.
On the afternoon of the 5th day of the first lunar month, all of the eight communes (including Co Loa Commune and the establishing relations between seven communes) hold the incense offering ceremony at the communal house. At Thuong Temple, village officials and mandarins hold the similar ceremony and revise the king’s contributions and achievements.

The official festival day, which is on the 6th of the first lunar month, starts with processions and grand sacrifices- offering ceremony. In early morning, a solemn and splendid procession takes orations from the oration writer’s house to the temple. The chief officiant at Thuong Temple has to come up and receive the orations and puts them on the altar. Next to the door of the temple is a pair of life-size pink and white wooden horses. Their harnesses are decorated with phoenix motifs and beautiful gold thread embroideries. The path to the temple is lined with decorative weapons and eight precious votive objects. At that time, the palanquins of the establishing relations between seven communes arrive at Thuong Temple and are put on the yard. The worshipping rituals begin. Votive offerings include incense, flowers, truncated cone-shaped cakes made of sticky rice, fruits, steamed sticky rice, meat, giay cakes and popcorn. According to folk knowledge, the last two things were used by King An Duong Vuong to treat his troops. The rituals last until 12 o’clock. Meanwhile, in the temple, some senior people representing their communes pray to the king for peace and prosperity to their villagers.

Next is the procession to take the god from the temple to the communal house so that he can watch the festivities. This is the biggest procession with the participation of all the palanquins. When reaching the main entrance called Nghi Mon, the palanquins return to their villages. Co Loa’s procession and palanquin do the same rituals once more at the communal house. This is the end of the official festival day. From then to the end of the whole festival, there are only duty ceremonies and votive offerings of residential groups, family lines and visitors.

An Duong Vuong Temple Festival has a special procession for the fake king of Nhoi village. On Mount Sai in Nhoi Village is a temple dedicated to Saint Tran Vu, who, according to legends, helps the king drive away evil spirits and build Co Loa Citadel. Every year, on the 12th day of the first lunar month, the king would go there together with his mandarins to do worshipping rituals. But because such travelling was quite complicated, King An Duong Vuong asked a local man to impersonate him and held a similar ritual. Later generations put on stage that story. Though this custom is specific for Nhoi Village, it helps to diversify activities of the Co Loa Festival.
The Co Loa Festival has many other fun activities such as human chess, wrestling, cock fighting, swings, rope climbing, card playing, and cheo and tuong singing.

On the final day of the festival, a grand farewell ceremony will be held at the temple. The rituals are the same as in the main festival day. After the rituals, the cult table of god will be returned to the sanctuary. Local people enjoy the god’s favor and expect a year of prosperity and protection from the god.
Title: Ninh Van Bay, the best destination for honeymoon vacation.
Post by: tamlan on Jan 12, 12, 09:46 AM
As one looks upon the virgin beauty of Ninh Van Bay it is hard to imagine it was once the site of fierce fighting during the American War.
My friends and I travelled to Ninh Van Bay on a glorious day. The morning was just dawning, the sunlight starting to wander on the sea. With the clouds drifting and bobbing. I was sitting on the car taking in the seascape before my eyes. The way to the bay is like the dress of a pretty girl who is lying on the sand and wallowing in the beauty of the sea. I was really eager to explore the bay, one of the most beautiful areas of Khanh Hoa Province.

Ninh Van Bay is located on Ninh Hoa District's Hon Heo Peninsula. It is about 60km from Nha Trang City, and it took us about 20 minutes to reach the bay by boat. The bay is famous for its natural beauty, with fabulous coral reefs, white sand beaches and an impressive mountain backdrop. Its natural charms have enticed many investors to build luxurious resorts, which help visitors escape from city life.
From far off, Ninh Van Bay has a quaint air about it. Small wooden houses line the beach, perched on rocks or hills that bring a sense of calm to the landscape.
However, this region of Ninh Hoa Town was the location of brutal fighting during the war. It was deemed the perfect place for a resistance base because of its rugged mountainous terrain, many reefs and narrow harbour passages.
Although few people know that Ninh Van Bay was a maritime base of the "Ho Chi Minh Trail" on the sea, local residents are proud of its history, which includes a fierce naval battle between liberation forces and US and Sai Gon ships and aircraft. An officer of the liberation navy, Nguyen Phan Vinh, captained a ship in the skirmish.
On March 1, 1968, Vinh's ship reached Hon Heo Peninsula to unload weapons and other supplies intended for Khanh Hoa's combatants, and came under attack suddenly by enemy ships. Instead of surrendering, Vinh ordered his crew to ready themselves for a fight. Ultimately, his vessel was destroyed along with 13 of the crew who sacrificed themselves for their mission.

Pham Thi Huong, a long-time resident of Ninh Hoa Town's Ninh Thuy Commune, says that a few days after the boat exploded, around 9,000 enemy soldiers were sent to mop up the area.
"We all avoided capture and found five survivors from the battle the next day," she recalls.
The image of Vinh's ship anchored in Ninh Van Bay still lingers in the minds of many local people. They are now fighting a new war against poverty and are determined to develop their town into a successful tourist destination.
You can see the evidence of their victory in the many tall buildings and spacious houses that differentiate Ninh Van from other coastal areas in Viet Nam. Even as nearby as Van Phong Bay's Son Dung Island - one of Asia's most beautiful beaches about 20km from Ninh Hoa Town - the economic situation is demonstrably worse. There are only 30 people on that island, which offers another striking contrast with busy Ninh Van Bay.
Chair woman of Ninh Van Commune Tra Thi Bong Sen says that "in the past, travel to Ninh Hoa Town was inconvenient and difficult, but today a new road links our commune with others in the region. When the road opens, we will begin the implementation phase of four more projects".
During the war, Ninh Van was home to only five families, but now there are nearly 400 households of about 1,700 people. Residents mainly cultivate garlic, cashews, beef and seafood, as well as engage in the tourism industry. According to Sen, a household cultivating garlic can earn an average profit of VND300 million (US$14,285) per hectare.

In the future, Ninh Van Bay is looking to continue developing its tourism potential, and is welcoming further investment from companies, organisations and individuals.
Ninh Van has tranformed itself completely in recent years: the bay looks like a girl wearing a new dress. It has pulled itself out of poverty and recovered from war to become a kind of paradise. Visiting Ninh Van, I was really overwhelmed by the sight of it all.
While there, I visited the Six Senses Hideaway Resort, which gestures towards Vietnamese culture with its huts thatched with coconut leaves, set against the clear blue lake. The calm atmosphere can lull you to sleep and it is an ideal hideaway from the chaos of modern life. If you walk just a short way from the bungalows, you can dip your toes in the water and look out at the coral reef.
The resort offers a variety of accommodation. "Beach villas", according to the Ninh Van Bay Holiday Club, are perfect for people who wish to wake up in the early morning with the view of naupaka trees and explore the preserved coral reefs close to shore. "Hilltop villas" are nestled against the cliffs within the lush forest, offering a more secluded experience. And finally, sited on forbidding granite stone boulders, are the "villas over the sea" that allow guests to "merge with the vast ocean and whispering waves".
As transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson from USA wrote: "Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air."
The sea has transformed the lives of Ninh Van residents, first through war and now through tourism, and it will be a crucial part of their future, ushering in economic growth with its gentle waves.
Title: Top 5 hot springs in Vietnam
Post by: tamlan on Jan 12, 12, 09:47 AM
1. Kim Boi Hot Spring in Hoa Binh
For those who want to take a day off after long tiring journeys, Kim Boi Hot spring is the right place. With a 30km drive from Hoa Binh town, tourists can easily access Ha Bi commune, Kim Boi district. The district covers an area of 682 km2 and lies in the hot spring of a mineral stream.
Clear water continually spouts from the fountains, normally between 340C and 360C. According to some scientific tests, Kim Boi water resources can reach the required standard for quality; therefore, it proves to be suitable for drinking and bathing. In fact, the Kim Boi mineral water is bottled for refreshment. It has almost the same composition as certain famous foreign brands of mineral water in the world. In addition, it is believed that heated water can hold more dissolved solids and have a high mineral content including calcium or lithium or radium. As a result, this water is considerable as a highly effective therapy for rheumatism, intestinal diseases, stomachache, high blood pressure etc. This can even be a good location for rehabilitation clinics for those with disabilities.
As for tourists in Vietnam travel, depending on their budget they can choose to stay at any hotels in the resort area. Wherever they are, the same point is that they can hear the sound of water spouting out, which is very relaxing. Being immersed in a large mineral water deposit of Kim Boi stream is also not unmemorable for every visitor. Certainly, no one will refuse to spend time in such a spot!
2. Bang Hot Mineral Spring in Quang Binh
Bang Hot Mineral Spring is located in Bang Hamlet, Kim Thuy Commune, Le Thuy Dist, 60km from Dong Hoi Town, 21km west of Le Thuy Dist., Quang Binh Province. Arriving at Bang Spring, visitors in Vietnam travel has the feeling of being in a fairy-land with the foggy nature by the steam from the Spring.
Bang Spring has been recorded as the only hot water source in Vietnam with an on-spot temperature of 105 oC.
Beside the miraculous mineral spring, Bang spring is also a tourism attraction in Vietnam travel. While Phong Nha Ke Bang attracts tourists in Vietnam travel by its magnificent nature, Bang Spring is attractive with its fanciful, poetic scenery. Tourists can also boil things by the hot water in the spring. Bang Spring is such a present that nature gives to Quang Binh that once coming here, visitors do not want to leave.
3. Kenh Ga Hot Spring in Ninh Binh
 Kenh Ga is not only an eco-cultural tourist site with remarkable scenery but also an ideal resort for tourist in Vietnam travel. Located in Ninh Binh province, it has unique hot salty water with a stable temperature of 530¬ C, KCl, NaCl, Calcium and Bicarbonate that help medical treatments. Vietnamese scientists have confirmed the good quality of this mineral water spring that is similar to the quality of convalescent areas of Germany and Russia. Today, the main branches of the spring have been built to channel water into some pools for swimming and soaking. If tourists do not want to have a bath, they can get water from the spring to drink; The water is excellent for skin ailments such as scabies and vitiligo and curing a variety of stomach ailments and obesity.
4. Tay Vien Hot Spring in Quang Nam
Distant from My Son vestige about three kilometers towards the west is Tay Vien hot spring where is very famous for bringing tourists in Vietnam travel enjoyment and relaxation. This place is taken form from some earthquakes in the entrails of the earth millions of years ago.
The water in these two streams is very clear, with the average temperature of about 85 degrees.
This is an ideal place for tourists in Vietnam travel to steam bath. The stream’s water contains many precious mineral substances such as calcium, potassium, sulphur and iron.Tourists can also have a mud – bath here, which can help them to relax and cure some sickness.
5. Dam Rong Hot Spring in Lam Dong
Dam Rong Hot Spring is located at Da Long commune, Dam Rong District, Lam Dong province, from Da Lat about 70 km to the northeast, natural Dam Rong Hot Spring is a point of eco-tourism and medical treatment in the country attractive fog fascinating.
This area is surrounded by natural forest and artificial trees with diverse types and has a stone table systems, interlocking slate. Hot water erupting underground upward look like clusters of fireworks exploded, the average temperature of spring water is always at around 40- 45 degrees C, higher concentrations of sulfur hot springs in many other areas to treat skin diseases, arthritis, hypertension, cardiovascular disorders is very effective.
From this hot spring were put to use, it has attracted many tourists in Vietnam travel to here. It's wonderful as a paradise in the land with natural beauty.
Title: What you should do in the imperial city of Hue
Post by: tamlan on Jan 12, 12, 09:47 AM
A visit to Hue would not be complete without a boat excursion on the gentle Huong (Perfume) River, exploring life beside its banks amidst the romance of the ancient royal capital city.
Dissecting the city centre, the Perfume River is around 30km in length and owes its name to its path through aromatic forests.

Since earlier this year, Perfume River Emotion has offered tourists a chance to spend two days on the river and experience the city's more off the beaten track destinations, eco-tourism and local daily life.
The river, with its shimmering blue limpid colour, is like a pearl in the sun. Dotted with rowing boats, the citadel, town, gardens, pagodas, towers and temples, the poetic landscape has long mesmerized travelers.
Our charming overnight junk cruises were inspired by the daily lives of fishermen plying the river, said Hoang Trong Hai, director of the Perfume River Emotion Company.

"How to conserve the magnificence of the river as well as promote its beauty to the world is our most important mission," he added.
Tourists first visit then embark from the Thien Mu (Heavenly Lady) Pagoda, often the subject of folk songs and regarded as the unofficial symbol of the former imperial capital.
Along the route, tourists can stop off at fishing villages and Sinh Village well known for its ceremonial folk paintings. During its annual traditional festival, visitors to the village can also participate in a wrestling competition.

Thuy Bieu Village, 6.5km from the city centre, nestling in thanh tra (a kind of small grapefruit) gardens, is an additional must-see destination.
Seen on the map, Thuy Bieu Village, surrounded by the Perfume River, resembles the water gourd from which the area derived its name.
Tourists are additionally offered a chance to take part in thanh tra farm activities and sample the fruit, walk or cycle through green rice fields and visit families employed in producing incense.
After lunch, served in old wooden houses, guests may relax by steeping their feet in medicinal waters or enjoy massages delivered by blind people.
The virtues of the sweet-and-sour thanh tra, used as ingredient in many Hue specialties, will be on show via a special evening cooking class onboard.

Floating slowly down the Perfume, tourists will be lulled by the folk songs of boatwomen before waking to a magnificent sunrise.
"Moments onboard a boat cruising the Perfume River are truly unforgettable," said Viviane Castelli from Cannes, France.
"We especially enjoyed the slow descent of waves, the bike rides through villages and rice fields. The food was exceptional and well worth reproducing back home," she said.
"The boat was very well equipped. In short, it was an enchanting journey."
Title: Vietnamese Village Culture, a deeper look
Post by: tamlan on Jan 12, 12, 09:48 AM
Village culture is an important component taking part in creating Viet Nam cultural identity.
Being a typical agricultural country, people's lives must depend much on natural conditions, thus, for existence and development, owners of Viet Nam villages that are peasants in the majority must rely on and link to each other’s. That's why, communal character has been regarded as the first cultural characteristic of Viet Nam villages. This has been formed through close organization with many different rules.
First of all is the organization basing on bloodline comprising family . Family is the basis unit including people who are of bloodline relationship. Such families form kin. In Vietnamese thought, kin is sometimes more important than family. Concepts involving to kin such as head of a clan, patriarch, genealogy, temple of fore father; ancestral anniversary, birthday feast,... are respected much.
From past time till now, village people have liked to live in big families. The family that is of three or four generations living together, its leader feels proud of. Compassion and assistance among people are the representation of kin's strength. In a kin, everybody is responsible for protecting and assisting each other’s both material and spirit, guiding each others to promote their position in society.
The basis of bloodline relationship is hierarchy. The direct hierarchy system of Vietnamese people consists of nine generations from forefather, great grandfather, grandfather, father, I, child grandchild, great grandchild, post child. This system is seldom met in the world. This creates the distinctiveness for Viet Nam culture one hand, the other hand it also forms few negative characters of rural persons. They are patriarchal behavior and private.
Second is the organization basing on resident areas to be hamlets and villages. This is originated from agricultural environment. Because the wet rice cultivation requests a big labor force, Vietnamese peasants not only bear much but also assist to each others.  In order to cope with the social environment such as robbing... it is necessary to cooperate to make effect. Vietnamese people cannot live without relatives as well as without neighbors. The organization basing on habitat creates democracy and equality between man and man. This is regarded to be primary democratic form - village democracy. However, its flip side is dependent character and jealousy.
Countryside is also organized into guilds according to interests and vocations. In order to link persons who have the same vocation, guilds are set up such as pottery guild making ceramics, fishing guild, cloth guild weaving cloths, plaster guild doing constructional guild.... As for persons of same hobbies or classes, there are associations such a association of scholars for civil mandarin in a village, literacy coterie links Confucian scholars in a village who are not mandarins martial coterie links persons who follow art of fighting, old men take part in gentlemen association, old women participate in lady guild, "To torn" guild (card game using a deck of 120 cards and played by five persons) chess guild, cock fighting guild....Although guild and association have some common points, the specializing character of guild is usually more deeply and its scale is often smaller. Democratic character is also a characteristic of guild   and association.  Thus, people in the same guild are usually responsible for help each other.

Another rural organization is according to the tradition of "Giap" - called male. The head of Giap is the overseer, next are persons called "lenh" assisting the overseer. A participant in Giap is only male. It is hereditary, the father belongs to a Giap, his son will belong to that Giap. There are three main ages in Giap. From small to 18 years old called "infant", strong young men called "male individuals", old men called "elders". Reaching to "elder" is the supreme honors to any member in Giap. The age for reaching to "elder" is often 60 but some exceptions that regulate that this age- starts from 55 or 50 depending on each village. When a person gets "elder", he will sit on the above mat and will be respected by the whole village. The rule forming this organization is "respecting old man" because elders are always rich of experiences which are extremely important and essential to works of farmers, Giap is an organization in which expresses both hierarchy and democratic character of Vietnamese people.
Beside patterns mentioned above, Viet Nam villages are as well held up to administrative unit to be hamlet and commune. Commune is another calling of village and hamlet is another name of subdivision of a village in terms of administration. One commune sometimes, may consist of few villages and a hamlet, may include some subdivisions.
In a commune, there is often of an existence of apparent discrimination between principal people and aliens. People whose origins are in village are called principal ones and people coming from other regions are called aliens. This discrimination is very sharp. While principal men are enjoyed all rights and interests, aliens are often treated without any respect,. This opposition is really of aim at restricting peasants to separate from their homes and also limiting aliens to come to live in village. Therefore, this discrimination is considered to be a means for maintaining the stability of villages.
Principal people are classified into five types. That are dignitaries (including persons who passed examinations or of grades); authorities (consisting of persons who are working for commune); elders (comprising men belonging to aged rank in Giap); male individuals (including strong boys in Giap) and infants (consisting of children). Dignitaries, authorities and the eldest in aged rank forming a section called village mandarins. This section manages three lower classes to be elder male individuals and infants. It may be said that, the administrative machinery of Viet Nam traditional villages   in   very   orderly   and   formed   gradually during the developing process of national culture as a historical product.
The rural organization according to many different rules at the same time has created two most basic characteristics of Viet Nam countryside to be community and autonomy.
The communal character is to unite all members in village, each person usually takes care other persons. This characteristic represents outward trend. This' communal character bears the autonomy. Each village looks like a closing small nation with its own a law system (or customs) and a "mini court". The isolation itself has made the habit of "imperial power bends to suit rural customs" and demonstrates the special democratic relation between feudal state and Vietnamese villages.

The ground of the communal house, shores, banyans trees, have been regarded as traditional symbol f community. Every village has it own communal house. This is the place at which every respects in village life focuses most. All important works of village take place here, so, the communal house is an administrative centre. It is as well the place where festivals, performances of "tuong cheo" (kinds of old art) are held..., so, it is a cultural centre. It is the place for worshipping the tutelary spirit the patron god of the whole village. The destiny of the village is determined by terrain, the communal house's aspect, so the communal house is the centre of religion. And finally, it is also the sentimental center because both persons who are living and expatriates remember the communal house with all beloved sentiment each time thinking of their villages. If the communal house is the place where male gathers mainly, shores is principally for female. They do all their housework such as washing, cleaning rice and vegetables, etc, and talking here.
By the gate of the village, there is usually a century old banyan tree with a shrine below. The banyan is the place for saints and gods to gather and for peasants to stop on the way to their fields or for passers by...
Viet Nam village autonyms has its own traditional symbol. It is bamboo. The bamboo hedge covers around the village as a firm stronghold which is inviolable.
A series of Vietnamese people's characters' strong points and weak points, especially farmers, are generated from two rooted characteristics said above.
The communalism emphasizes on the identity. Due to this, Vietnamese people are always ready to unite and help to each others, regard everybody in the community as brothers, relatives. This also creates collectiveness and harmony of Vietnamese. However,   the   nagative  aspect  brought  from  the identity is that the individual consciousness is abolished. Vietnamese people usually depend on collectiveness with the notion of conciliation. Another serious shortcoming is envy. These defects makes the concept of "value" in Viet Nam relative. If there is only one good thing in a goodless collectiveness, that good thing will become the bad one. If the whole collectiveness is bad, that bad becomes usual, vice versa.
Different from the communalism, the autonyms emphasizes on the differentiation. Firstly is the differentiation between this community and that community. The strong point of this is to create communal independent spirit. Each village, each collectiveness has to settle and arrange its own issues by itself. Many traditional characters such as industriousness, self - sufficiency... are originated from this independent spirit.
However, when emphasizing too much on the differentiation, a series of other characters such as privations, selfishness, partial faction or patriarchal behavior... are born from. These bad habits have become a frightening obstacle for the social development, thus, nowadays; they are criticized by Vietnamese themselves.

Character of a nation is determined by features of habitable environment and peculiarity of people's thought in that nation. The water rice agricultural environment and the dialectical thought created lunar and solar principle and ambiguous behaviors of Vietnamese. Two rooted characteristics which are contrary to each other to be the communalism and the autonyms generated both good and bad habits. They combine to each other into pairs in Vietnamese people. In the case, the whole community has to face to big difficulties or challenges which even though threaten its existence the solidarity and the collectiveness will be highly called forth. But when those difficulties no longer exist, the privations and partial faction may rise.
All cultural characteristics mentioned above mainly appear in villages of the Northern plain. In the rule of Nguyen Kings, the Southern plain was exploited. This created more new traits for Viet Nam villages. The commonest characteristic of Northern villages is not the closing autonyms; it is open attitude vice versa. Without solid bamboo hedges surrounding their homes, instead, they are usually changeable. Thus, their characters become freer. These characteristics exist not by chance. The changeability of residents is due to there their villages   to   find   other   lands   which   are   more convenient to live. The free character is owing to stable climate, favorable natural conditions with the rare appearance of natural calamity. Open and free characters facilitate to receive easily influences from outside. However, in spite of having different features from Northern villages Southern villages still have bamboos, communal house for worshipping tutelary and have festivals. Although Northern people are free, they still are industrious and still respect the communalism. Thus, Viet Nam cultural identity has still preserved its unification.
Running along the stretch of Viet Nam, there are several villages. Each one beside of common features has its own impressive traits. It is possible to say that every village or hamlet is also of certain merits or achievements. Among them, there are some ones who are notable for their private traits and they are called traditional cultural villages.
That may be literary villages, lands of study or examination system in which, there are many people who passed examinations or take part in teaching, writing books....Even though, a village with only one well known poet lich as Tien Dien with the great poet Nguyen Du has been regarded as a village of literary tradition.
That may be martial villages, where there are several   military   leaders   or   wrestlers   and   also many sports and martial games. Boc village with the famous wrestling custom is a example.
That may be vocational villages with traditional handicrafts such as incrustation, woodwork, forging... A village's fame may be due to the whole village does that vocation or just some professionals but their products are esteemed in many places.
That may also market village specializing trade and" commerce. Above are four typical traditional cultural villages in Viet Nam. Right from the feudalism, the cultural value of villages was much respected. Many feudal dynasties were consciousness of bringing up nice qualities of villages. A village who has good families with virtuous persons is also considered to be a cultural village.

When the country encountered enemy at the end of the 19th century, Vietnamese people both coped with invaders and got in touch with new ideas revolution villages or resistance ones were formed and paid homage to. The combination between tradition and newness has done its share in making villages more beautiful.
In history of Viet Nam culture, village culture has developed and brought its influence into play as a substance in communities, collectiveness’s and individuals of Vietnamese, meaning in villages of Viet Nam. In order to understand manifestation of village culture, it is necessary to understand these traditional cultural villages.
Content of village culture may be researched through aspects such as social culture, spiritual culture and art culture. Each aspect has many different cultural phenomena, among them, some have become symbols of certain traditional value. Images of communal houses, banyan trees, water wells, mulberry-terraced fields call up something familiar and moving to expatriates. Genealogies, habits, customs is the treasure folk knowledge in which a lot of social and historical information is contained. Historical relics, archaeological vestiges, headstones or festivals with their rich content express significance of religion, habit literature, music, art at many respects.
All has made liveliness as well as the pride for ages of Viet Nam to their villages.
Title: Vietnamese Ancestor worship, what you need to know
Post by: tamlan on Jan 12, 12, 09:48 AM
Ancestor worship plays important portion of Vietnamese spiritual life.  After passing away, Vietnamese people believe that, the body dies but the spirit of their beloved family member still alive, stay to support in the future.  To worship is to communicate with the dead people and ask them for advices.  

Ancestor worship was introduced into Vietnam by the Chinese during their long occupation of the country that began 200 years before the birth of Christ. Since then, it has been fully absorbed into the Vietnamese consciousness and, with Confucianism, underpins the country’s religion and social fabric.
Ancestor worship is not only the adhesive that binds the Vietnamese together, but also one of the most difficult concepts for people from Anglo-Saxon or European origins to understand. It has been said that the Vietnamese believe in the dead, while the Occidentals believe only in death.
The basis of ancestor worship seems to stem from two principle ideas: (1) that "those who have gone before" have a continual and beneficent interest in the affairs of the living; and (2) more widespread, uneasiness, fear of the dead, with practices to placate them. The later ideas more often serve as a form of dispensing emotions than of worship.

How do Vietnamese people worship their ancestors?
The practice of ancestor worship is relatively straightforward. Nearly every house, office, and business in Vietnam has a small altar which is used to commune with ancestors. Incense sticks are burned frequently. Offerings are made – fruit, sweets, and gifts. The latter items are paper replicas of dollar notes (‘ghost money’), motorbikes, cars, houses and so on. After worship, the paper gifts are burnt so that the spirits of the gifts can ascend to heaven for the ancestors to use.
In the past, the income from a plot of land was used to maintain the altar and arrange the rituals, but this tradition has now faded away. However, the custom that the eldest son will arrange the ceremonial and inherit the family house upon the death of his parents is still generally observed.
Another traditional element is the placing of wooden tablets on the altar for each of the ancestors over recent generations. This is less rigorously observed today, and tablets are often replaced by photographs. Some pagodas house commemorative tablets for ancestors on behalf of regular worshipers.

When do Vietnamese people worship their ancestors?
Worshiping takes place regularly on particular days, such as festivals, new and full moon days, the death day of the ancestor, and so on. On important occasions, such as moving house, starting a new business or the birth of a child, and whenever a member of the family needs guidance or a favour, the ancestors are consulted.
A proliferation of small fires of burning paper in the streets of towns and cities means that it is a festival or moon day. One paper fire is likely to be an event affecting a single family.
Why do Vietnamese people worship their ancestors?
For the Vietnamese, ancestor worship is not related to ghosts, spiritualism or even the supernatural in the Western sense. It is not even a ‘belief’ in the sense that it is open to question by the ‘believers’. The Vietnamese accept as a fact that their ancestors continue to live in another realm, and that it is the duty of the living to meet their needs. In return, the ancestors give advice and bring good fortune.
Devotees of Buddhism believe in previous existences, and seek to correct previous bad deeds to reach enlightenment. Ancestor worship is fundamentally different. For the Vietnamese, death, and the ritual and practice of ancestor worship, constitutes the transfer of power from the tangible life to the intangible. Existence is a continuum stretching through birth, a life spent in tangible form on Earth, followed by death and a spirit existence in another realm for a further two or three generations.

Who are the heroic ancestors?
By virtue of their worthy deeds, heroic ancestors, such as Tran Hung Dao and the Trung sisters, continue to exist and be worshiped in temples for many generations beyond the two or three of ordinary folk. Their rectitude is a model to guide the behavior of the living.

What about ‘bad’ ancestors?
All ancestors are worthy of respect and reverence, regardless of their behavior as living beings. However, the misdeeds of a wicked family ancestor will be visited upon his or her children and grandchildren in the form of bad luck. This is a powerful influence upon the behavior of the living, influencing them to behave well and do good deeds in the present, thereby endowing their living and unborn children with good luck in the future.

How does ancestor worship affect daily life in Vietnam?
The effect of ancestor worship upon Vietnamese society is profound. There are three main concepts:
- regarding life as a small part of an infinitely greater whole embracing the entire race
- a belief that the past and present exist simultaneously
- a certitude that each individual’s behaviour in life has a direct impact upon the quality of the lives of his or her children and grandchildren
Taken together, these convictions extend the concept of the family far beyond the sense in which the term is used in the West. A Vietnamese person is never ‘alone’ – his or her ‘family’ is always present.
Title: Celebration for Longevity, a traditional way to honor Vietnamese Senior
Post by: tamlan on Jan 12, 12, 09:49 AM
Each passing year of a man's life brings him esteem and respect from his family and community. In the past, at the age of 40, one was honored for being an old man. The history of Viet Nam recounts that during the Tran Dynasty, in the 12th and 13th centuries, a 40-year-old king would give up his throne to his son to become a Buddhism monk.

 According to village customs, a man of 50 is honored as an old man. Old men stop working and are no longer village officials; however, they are still invited to festivals and to sit in the Communal House, the dinh, where they are honorably seated on red-bordered mats.

Longevity still preserves deep significance and showing respect for older people is a tradition still practiced today. Presently, when grandparents or parents reach the age of 70, 80, or 90 years old, their children and grandchildren organize longevity ceremonies, which are generally held on their birthday or in the days during the Tet Holidays.
Such celebrations are occasions for children and grandchildren to show their devotion to their parents and grandparent. Celebrations for longevity, either large or small, display the family's joy of having a relative who has been able to lead a long life. This person is offered a red dress and other gifts and is invited to be photographed. Older people are filled with warm sentiments from their relatives and neighbors so that they will not feel lonely as they go through the weakness of the end of their lives.
Today, in almost every village or urban district, there is an Association of Longevity for the eldest, and women are equally venerated.
Title: Vietnam Engagement ceremony, a new story by CNN writer
Post by: tamlan on Jan 12, 12, 09:50 AM
A wedding is an once-in-a-lifetime occasion... Well hopefully, but then again you do not know what will happen in this modern time. It is a memorable moment and everyone, especially the bride, wants everything to go as smoothly and perfectly as possible.
Before a wedding can take place, a proposal has to be made ahead of time. Just like the wedding, an engagement is important and in some places even more so. This is a little heads up to all the guys so make it thoughtful (it does not have to be extravagant). In some regions of Vietnam, like in the rural areas, it holds very true that the engagement is considered more important than the wedding. However, for people living in the city are depends on the family due to Western influence.

An Engagement to Remember
Vietnamese engagements tend to be very traditional with a lot of customs that tag along. You will notice that the engagement process will have some similarities in the next article when the groom and his family come to retrieve the bride after the wedding ceremony takes place. The engagement in Vietnam is different than in Western countries. It does not end after the guy proposes to the girl but continues until both families agree and officially celebrate the couple.
The process continues. Although, the guy does not have to ask the girl's family for approval before he pops the question to her, both families still have to get together to plan the engagement party when she agrees. There are families out there where is recommended the groom ask the family first.
This just shows that you respect the family and want their approval. As a result, the girl's family will like you and think more of you. Also, your future fiancée will think it is a little cute and sweet that you went to all the trouble of going through her family.
Even though she has accepted your proposal, it is not official yet. Next, both families have to pick a date for the engagement party. Usually in the past, the date is based on the couple's birth dates and its hours (for Feng Shui purpose) but today it is mostly dependent on whenever is convenient. Once the date has been set, each side of the family will pick a representative for the engagement ceremony.
Please stand up...
The representative can be anyone that knows the family or a person in the family. When it comes to choosing a representative, that person needs to know the family, have good public speaking skills and a good reputation. This step should not bring you any difficulty.
A few days or week prior to the engagement, the fiancé's family has to get all the gifts for the fiancée's family ready. These gifts consist of jewelry, husband-and-wife cakes, betel leaves, areca nuts, wine, fruit, cake, tea, and a huge roasted pork (the whole animal). All of the gifts will be wrapped in red paper on a plate/tray. During this time, the fiancé will make sure the rings are size correctly.

On the fiancée's side, all she and her family have to do is get ready for the ceremony such as making sure the house is clean, decorating the place to make it look pretty (usually the decoration will be all in the color red, which stands for good luck/fortune), and the ancestors' altar all set up with fruits, tea, and incense sticks. In our culture, the woman tends to have less responsibility in the wedding process compared to the West.
Before hand, the fiancée will have gotten all her traditional clothes called Ao Dai, which are always custom made (the fiancé will do the same). Both of the fiancé and fiancée's outfits usually will be red or pink (this applies to the fiancée more).
Should I stay or should I go?
So the actual day has arrived and you no longer can back out. You probably are thinking, "What? I can't back out? Yes, I can because it's not the actual wedding." Let's back track for a second. One of the reasons why in some regions the engagement is important is because it's to make sure no party will cancel the wedding once the couple is engaged. This applies more to the old days when marriages were arranged and one side would fear the other would back out.
By making everything really big and extravagant for the engagement ceremony it makes it difficult for either family to back out because if they do, the whole family will lose face. The family's reputation will be damaged not to mention the honor of keeping one's word is gone, and then no one will trust you or your family. The consequences are deadly but it is to prevent runaways before the actual wedding. Julia Roberts (Runaway Bride) will not do very good in our country (hehe).
On the engagement day, the fiancé's family will come to the fiancée's house with the prepared gifts. During the gift ceremony, all the guys on the fiancé's family will line up with a tray of gifts while on the fiancée's side the girls will also form a line to receive the gifts. Once the exchange has taken place, everyone goes inside the house.
Next, the fiancé's representative will ask for the fiancée's hand in marriage on behalf of family. Then, the fiancée's representative will accept the offer and now the couple will pray in front of the ancestors' altar for approval and blessing.
After all this is done, the rings are exchanged and the couple is officially engaged. At this time, the fiancé's family representative will introduce the members on his side by their role, and likewise on the fiancée's. This moment is when speeches about the couple will be exchanged by the representatives and family members when it is their turn to be introduce. Sometimes the speeches can be a blessing of happiness and congratulations or welcoming to the family since from this point on, the fiancé and fiancée can call their in-laws mom, dad, sister, brother, etc.

Before the ceremony ends, the fiancée's side has to return a portion of the gifts that the fiancé will bring back to his family. The gift ceremony will be the same at the beginning. Two lines of guy and girls line up, but this time the girls will hand back the trays and gifts.
You may ask why we have this tradition. I would say we just follow blindly. Because this tradition has passed down from generation to generation and we just follow what the ancestors have taught.
When the ceremony is officially over then the actual party can start. Well, not until after everyone has gotten their picture taken with the happy couple. Then, the fiancée's family can start to unwrap the gifts and hand out food.
If you are getting engaged or thinking about it, I would like to be the first one to congratulate you.
Title: Re: Vietnam
Post by: cynwrigeoghan on Feb 25, 13, 10:13 AM
Vietnam is an exotic country that represents everything a vacationer could ever ask for during his or her holiday -breath taking sights, a peaceful yet beautiful countryside, and a variety of major cities with plenty of commercial establishments and attractions for visitors to enjoy.